There are so many different opinions on what works and what doesn’t, so we’ve decided to do some systematic comparisons side by side. For example, one of our first experiments will be with hugelkultur beds. What are the best methods of constructing the beds? What kind of wood is best? Are conifers acceptable?

We have several acres of 20-year old Douglas fir trees that need thinning, and are going to try using some of them to build a bed, even though many say to avoid conifers. If they work, we’ll have plenty of material for future beds, and a place to put some of those logs. We also enough volunteer deciduous trees where we are planning our orchards that we can use in a second bed right next to the first and compare the results over the next few years.

Then there is the question of height. We started with a 3-foot deep trench with the intent to make the beds 5-6 feet tall overall. After digging half the first trench, it became clear we should verify whether all that crazy digging is necessary. So, half of each bed will be three feet deep and the other half 1.5 feet deep. The height above ground will be the same, 2-3 feet. We’ll plant the same combination of plants in each trial area to compare how they perform. Hopefully the short fir tree bed comes out ahead!



Starting a Permaculture Farm

Our goal at Scrumpy Farm is to create a community based farm that improves the health of the land and provides a good living for our family.  We know there is a better way to farm than the corporate model and want to show it can be done not only sustainably, but profitably.  Through experimentation with permaculture and other ecological farming methods we aim to find the right combination for our farm that will nourish the land and produce an abundance of high quality food.  Ultimately, to provide the best food, a good lifestyle for the farmer, and take care of the land, we also believe the local community needs to be involved.  In that light, we want to make Scrumpy Farm a destination where like minded people can come to work, learn, and celebrate in a beautiful natural setting.  We’ve had the land for a little over four years now, but have been focused on clean up and construction projects.  This coming year is going to be a big push to expand our deer protection, get our first section of the permaculture orchard planted, and start a small flock of chickens to start building the soil.  We are hoping to have our first work party at the end of March.  Please contact us if you are interested in getting more details.

Farmhouse and old fruit trees